“What did you do!?” and “I can’t imagine you doing anything THAT bad” are the typical questions and comments I receive. When it comes to matters of identity we often recognize others and ourselves by something significant they or we are not very proud of. Sin will always be sin. Great or small “the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree...” (Alma 45:16)
In a Brigham Young University devotional, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland counseled , “Let people repent. Let people grow. Believe that people can change and improve. Is that faith? Yes! Is that hope? Yes! Is that charity? Yes! Above all, it is charity, the pure love of Christ.” If we are to act like and be disciples of Jesus Christ we need His sight, His view and His perception of individuals and that most certainly includes ourselves. If our Father in Heaven, in His unconditional love, chooses to “remember them no more.” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:42) we too must remind them no more. Those who may feel that you yourself are what's bringing you down, because one of the hardest things is forgiveness of self, have faith in the atonement. Believe in Christ and believe Him when he says, "Thy sins be forgiven." You are NOT your mistakes.
Trudging down the road of repentance, we can get confused, conflicted and discouraged threading the things we have done into who we are. Mistakes, misdeeds and misfortunes that have happened can all be forgiven, mended and healed. It is of the utmost importance to remember, it is not about what we have done wrong but what we have broken. In our temples there are heavy covenants and commitments we vow to keep. When our lifestyle is not in accordance with what we have promised it is essential to take a step back, reevaluate where we are and decide for ourselves where we truly want to be. We have all made mistakes. We all fall short. Every one of us are either passing through Gethsemane, just about to enter or have triumphantly returned. No matter what aspect we may be in the Savior can be found along side us strengthening, encouraging and lifting through our progression.
Repentance is one of the hardest things for an individual to open up about. When feelings of shame, embarrassment and fear are involved how are we to grow? How do we find support in where we are wanting to go? We understand that the purpose of guilt is to lead us to truly repent and instill a lasting change. Once the decision has been made we're entitled to the saviors mercy and grace the moment we humbly turn our hearts and start on our path to Him and we are blessed with continual peace every step of the way.
"Remember, repentance is not punishment, it is the hope-filled path to a more glorious future."
- Elder Richard G. Scott
The road you are on is a positive one. Do not be ashamed for choosing to repent and if you're in a position where you feel the need to change, have the courage to step up and do it. You are the only one in control of where you go. Have faith that there will be many to support, love and stand with you through it. Like in the Disney movie 'Lilo & Stitch', "Ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind." Though we make covenants and promises individually we get to heaven together. It is our responsibility regardless of where we are at in life to "mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort." (Mosiah 18:8) Be mindful of the needs of others, because this is a journey we decided to do with each other.